The Life of Shelby Stanga the Swamp Man

Famously known as the “Swamp Man”, Shelby Stanga is known for his notable work in Ax Men, an American television reality series what is aired on the History Channel. The show is about the adversities that logging crews have to face in austere conditions in order to provide the country with timber. The third, fourth and fifth seasons show greater peril and greater dedication and enthusiasm of the loggers towards their job.

Shelby was brought up in Bedico, L.A.  As a child, Shelby spent most of his childhood discovering nature amidst creeks, rivers and swamps. During the tempestuous times, like many other children, Shelby was not the average school-goer, and received most of the invaluable life lessons from nature. He spent a fair share of his time with his cousins Louis, Kelly, Jimy, Johnny, and Richard who picked up on survival skills based on the little that they had. They mostly fed on fish, birds, gators, turtles, coons and crawfish. Often, there were times when they spent elongated durations at the swamps which sometimes stretched for weeks.

During his early teenage years, he went on to join a dredging company. His first log pull was a sinker cypress log at the Tangipahoa River.  Since then, he has uncovered the value and covert treasure of the age-old trees. His search mainly includes trees which were felled for commercial purposes in the 1850’s till the 1940’s. Lightning and storm also struck down many trees. Some got lost on the way of their transportation to the mills, as they sank in water bodies. The valuable wood ranged from tan to red and from green to black. These are high in demand for the manufacture of furniture, as they high in quality and beautiful in texture. A man can easily work his way up the financial ladder but Shelby considered the sunken wooden logs underwater to be his savings account and he utilizes its value only when required. In an unexpected and surprising way, the Swamps turned out to be favourable for him! As the word reached out to people, he received requests from them to collect the valuable wood from the deep swamps. His efficacious experience from his former job came of aid and he was nimble-fingered with the ways of the swamps. His journey as a swamp-logger started when he undertook the challenge to retrieve a cypress from the bleak waters of the damp swamp. He was able to carry out the task successfully with the aid of a boat, inner tubes and some ropes.

Years of training and experience has gained him expertise over rare logs. In the show Ax Men, he recovered some logs. Among his collection, the age of logs range from 2000-50000 years. His hard work has paid off and he is truly proficient at his work.  With a special request by the History Channel, he joined the cast of Ax Men in the third season.

Being a man of simple terms, Shelby was not obviously used to him being filmed at every time of the day. He joined the show in the third season. He faced difficulties in getting used to the camera and constant filing. Every time he looked out of the water after a dive in it, a camera would approach him right near his face. Agitated as he was, he warned the cameraman to keep the camera away from his face or else he would knock it down. Being a man of words, he did exactly that and a Ruger 44 Mag Blackhawk was down in the water. He was not very easy on the production crew and took his chances in stressing them from time to time. He used a snake to scare a producer at one time. There was another time when he dropped off a cameraman on a bank, and left him there unattended just for a shot.

Although Shelby Stanga is a big name now; he still hails from the swamps and is a simple man who hunts and fishes.  He is kind and helpful in nature and his friends and family love him for who he is. He always has a new story to tell and though it may have impractical aspects to it, there is always a lingering sense of truth in them.

Watch Swamp Man | AX Men